KITC would like to welcome back guest blogger, Stephen Johnson. Stephen Johnson is an Ottawa writer who loves to write about family travel. During the summer, you will most likely find him and his family at a local fair or festival. During the winter, a beach in Mexico is a likely bet.
I first started visiting Saunders Farm about fifteen years ago for Halloween. I heard it was the scariest thing to do in Ottawa. They were right. In between the haunted hayride and other attractions, I was scared out of my wits.
Fast forward to today. We had taken David when he was seven to Saunders Farm during the day for Halloween. It was perfect at the time. David is now eleven so his fear quotient has gone up. He wanted to check out the evening FrightFest festivities.
We arrived at Saunders Farm and were immediately treated to a scare. Various farm employees were dressed up in their best Halloween gear. The first attraction we saw was the Barn of Terror. This was a test to see if the scare factor was too high for David or not. We walked through the barn and enjoyed various scares and thrills. I probably held my wife’s Sandy hand tighter than David did.
We then were treated to a parade of witches as they walked to their Coven. David bravely posed for a photo as the witches passed by.
It was still somewhat light outside so not all the hauntings were open. This gave us some time to visit other areas of the farm including the bouncy pad and playground. It brought back a flood of memories as we have been visiting Saunders Farm since David was a baby.
After visiting the bouncy pad, it was finally dark so all the attractions were open. Circus macabre was located close to the bouncy pad. I have always found clowns to be somewhat creepy and circus macabre only reinforced this idea. We had to find our way through a maze while being greeted by various clowns. There were numerous other elements but I don’t way to give away too much.
One thing that has changed about Fright Fest since I visited fifteen years ago is that there are also busker-style performers. We caught a fire show that added to the ambiance of the evening.
It was now time to visit the witches in their coven. We were greeted by a friendly witch who invited us to visit. I doubted her friendly exterior and the cackles coming from inside the coven gave it away. One really cool part was entering a room with a fog machine and a laser display. The effect made one think they were walking through a soupy swamp. Again, I don’t want to give away all the scares but let me just say, look around all the corners.
David, Sandy and I needed a break so we relaxed in the central area. There are multiple food options on-site so no one will go hungry. We also took a family photo in front of a large display of pumpkins. This spot may be one of the most instagrammed in the Ottawa area.
It was now time for the Haunted Hayride. All of the attractions at Saunders Farm are great but the Haunted Hayride is the classic. We boarded the wagon and the tractor was off like a shot. It took a few minutes to get to the main area which only built up the anticipation. We were scared in multiple ways including masked performers and loud noises. The Haunted Hayride was everything I remembered and more. It was fun to share the experience with David and Sandy.
It was now time to head back to Ottawa. I thought I saw a number of ghouls or goblins along the highway driving back home. It was probably just my imagination or was it?
For more information about all the scary things going on at Saunders Farm, visit www.saundersfarm.com
*Please note, Fright Fest is not intended for younger kids. We thought David was the perfect age at eleven but this may not be for all kids. The fright factor is much more young kid-friendly during the day.*
Full disclosure, Stephen’s tickets were covered by Saunders Farm but all opinions are his own.